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Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges Hardcover – October 23, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Vongerichten is a culinary adventurer, and for those cooks eager to expand their own horizons, this is a welcome record of the chef's passion: the food of Thailand, China, India, Vietnam—indeed, all of Asia—passed through the filter of his inimitable creativity and classic French training. Featuring recipes for the food he serves at his Asian fusion restaurants—Spice Market, Vong and the recently closed 66—these recipes are not for the timid or the time-pressed, but they do open a world of exciting tastes to those cooks willing to put in the time. Requiring an augmented pantry (food sources are suggested by the author) and a taste for sometimes unfamiliar flavors, the recipes are clear and results worth the effort. Crunchy Potato Salad includes radishes, chili, vinegar and just a little sugar in a lively alternative to common oil- or mayonnaise-based dressing. The recipes in the appetizer chapter are the most complicated, requiring a minimum of 10 ingredients and eight or nine steps. But further along, Beef Brisket with Onions and Chile, representing, he says, his own Alsatian-Jewish-Chinese... roots and the things I love, is simple and offers a piquant surprise. Among the many virtues of this book is how quickly the cook will use that nam pla sauce that's been loitering in the fridge for years. The recipes offer a new perspective to the jaded palates of Western cuisine. Photos throughout. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The world’s great Asian chefs hail Jean-Georges:
“I am Japanese so it’s a given that I am good at arranging Asian food. Jean-Georges is not Asian but he is excellent at incorporating Asian influences into his own food, and coming up with ingenious combinations. Congratulations to Jean-Georges on the publication of this wonderful book with Asian flavors!”
— Nobu Matsuhisa, chef and owner, Nobu & Matsuhisa restaurants worldwide
“Once again you have managed to give a very unique Jean-Georges twist to the Asian food traditions, safeguarding and respecting the very essence of them, which in my opinion is a harmony of sweet, sour, salty, and just the right amount of spiciness. It creates an explosion of flavors in your mouth and a culinary experience that clings to your taste buds long after you've left the dining table.”
— Norbert Kostner, executive chef, Bangkok’s Oriental Hotel
“Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges, a savory chef d’oeuvre . . . This book of astonishing and imaginative recipes demonstrates that Jean-Georges, a fusion pioneer, remains as passionate a culinary explorer as he is a perfectionist of Asian-style cuisine. Anyone who prepares these fresh, aromatic, and seductive dishes will feel that they, too, have traveled the spice routes and street food markets of Southeast Asia. ASIAN FLAVORS presents a unique and nuanced palette of taste sensations by one of my favorite food artists.”
— Susur Lee, chef and owner, Toronto’s restaurants Susur and Lee
“Reading Jean-Georges’s latest book is a definite temptation to head straight to the kitchen right away. I draw tremendous inspiration from this respected chef and good friend’s artistic creation of exotic Asian cuisines with magical doses of Western sophistication. This book is definitely a work of culinary art that will have a permanent place among my collection of favorite cookbooks.”
— Jereme Leung, founding chef and part owner, Shanghai’s Whampoa Club
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Top Customer Reviews
JGV's new book is more Asian than fusion. Although it uses some western ingredients, such as creme fraiche and butter, the recipes are essentially Asian.
Also, unlike Simple to Spectacular, these are clearly restaurant recipes, and no effort was made to simplify them and adjust them to home cooking.
Many of the recipes are labor intensive - loads of pots and pans are used, and many steps. They are still very attractive and make me want to get in the kitchen and star cooking.
There are a few simple recipes - I tried the egg and tomato soup and it is definitely going to become part of my everyday repertuar.
Last comment: although Asian cuisine should be healthy, many of the recipes in this book contain loads of butter and/or sugar.
Summary: a good book for people who really like cooking, to be used for special occasion meals.
Last night I made shrimp cakes with a peanut/mint sauce as a starter, which was satisfying and scrumptious. As an entree, I served up the roasted curried codfish with artichokes, snap peas and a tamarind/chile/garlic sauce, which was simply one of the best seafood dishes I've ever prepared at home (and I've cooked things from many great cookbooks, including dishes by Eric Ripert, Thomas Keller, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, etc.).
This cookbook has a great layout, wonderful pictures, and, most importantly, is sure to greatly expand the average foodie's palate and kitchen technique, opening the doors to a world of Eastern flavoring and ingredients. I've cooked three recipes and I've already learned so much! The only issue? Almost every recipe features very rare ingredients, ranging from the obnoxious-to-acquire to the impossible-to-acquire. It's very important to learn how and what to substitute, otherwise I can see this cookbook becoming merely a dust-collecting frustration for many at-home cooks, especially if you live in the suburbs and really only have one supermarket in town (luckily I live in NYC, where you can find almost anything on this earth as long as you're willing to search around town).
If you're a Jean Georges fan and appreciate his mastery of flavor, you're sure to love this approach to Asian cooking (this book seems to me to be a fusion of many countries, primarily Vietnam, but also Korea, China, and Thailand). The way you experience his recipes, some at once moist, succulent, crunchy, tangy, sugary and then spicy, are a total treat, and will get you excited to be in the kitchen. If you're serious about cooking and serious about challenging recipes that will really pay off for your guests, then this is a fantastic cookbook.
What is remarkable about JGV, as a French chef, he is very limited in his use of cream and butter. He uses a lot of soy- and vegetable-based sauces. Some purists will say these aren't true Asian dishes, and they'd be right. This is "fusion," much as I hate that word. But JGV's food is straightforward and delicious. He doesn't try to go over the top, to make things complicated just because he can. He doesn't try to be whimsical or to blow your mind. He just wants to create great food that you will remember.
Certainly some of the recipes here are ambitious and include a lot of obscure ingredients, but if there's an Asian market near you, there isn't anything you can't find there.
The book itself is beautiful, the photography is fantastic. And a bargain, for what it is.
The recipes are fabulous; full of color themselves and complex in flavor without being difficult to reproduce. The directions for each were clear and easy to follow.
I made Chicken Samosas with Cilantro-Yogurt Dip, and I'd recommend this recipe very highly. The deep and spicy flavors of the samosas combined with the brightness of the yogurt dip was a perfect marriage and, like Jean-Georges, I would insist that the samosas be dipped before each and every bite. The samosas certainly stand alone, but the dip pulls them up to a whole new, and delicious, level.
The truest test was my 3 year-old son, who couldn't stop eating them! Yes, they are spicy, and he knew it-asking for a drink after each bite-but he had no restraint whatsoever, and I must agree with him on this!
I look forward to making many more of the recipes within the pages of Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges and urge you to get a copy of your own.